Most of us have seen patent plaques and awards at least once in our life, but still not many of us understand what patents are. When you have a brilliant idea or an invention, you must file for a patent in order for that idea or invention to be recognized as your own asset.
With a patent, you can sell, market, or do whatever you want with your invention within a limited time, and without it, someone could steal your invention and sell it under their name.
In fact, many great inventors in our history have lived a life of poverty because their inventions had not been patented in their lifetime, barring them from profiting from their own inventions. However, while the idea of having patents for many inventions sounds tempting, it is the quality of your patent that will matter the most, not the quantity.
In the article below, we are going to show you why.
What is Patent Quality
This is a very difficult question to answer, and there have been several ongoing debates as to its definition. Most people believe that it would be excruciatingly difficult to reach a real consensus for this definition, as to them, quality is something that is entirely subjective, and that it wholly depends on whom you ask.
In the US, the debate can be summarized as being between those who believe that patents should be more tightly controlled for personal interests, and those who favor less legislation to spark more public interests.
However, there have been attempts to conceptualize and specify the term so that future patents will not cause so many controversies. These attempts have generally found the dimensions through which patent quality can be more objectively measured.
These dimensions include product quality and application, two very important factors that every inventor has to take into account before they can release their products. Therefore, patent quality can be best measured through a combination of these two factors, as well as the underlying work on the patent itself.
A thoroughly developed patent describes the product and use in detail (enough that it is undoubtedly specific to the innovation itself), and has a significant amount of research and time put into it.
Why Patent Quality is More important
The focus of inventors has shifted from quantity to quality. More companies are beginning to put more effort into creating better patents than scrambling to get as many patents as they can. Here are some of the most important reasons to focus on patent quality:
Investors are always after their returns on investments, so they care about the results of your products. In the past, investors didn’t care much about whether a product was revolutionary so long as it earned them money. However, they now understand that in order to make it big, the products have to be unique and of high quality.
Beyond your product itself, the quality of your patent also bears interest to investors. A poor quality patent, even on a brilliant product, can fail to truly protect the intellectual rights and capital investments of contributors. A high-quality patent reads very clearly to the product it’s for. That means it can legally be defended and protected if unscrupulous parties try to profit unduly from the invention.
Failure to develop breakthroughs
In order to develop as many products as possible, companies will often sacrifice the time and resources to develop true breakthroughs. To develop products that really matter, the company will have to place less emphasis on the quantity of their patented products.
A high-quality patent involves more research, detailed documentation, testing, and assessment. Putting an emphasis on a thorough patent will show a more professional, thoughtful approach. This not only often leads to additional product breakthroughs, but a more thorough protection of individual aspects of products and innovations under the patent.
Better patent assessment
Patents are assessed by professionals, but the number of patents they have to review each year can be overwhelming. This will negatively affect their standard, as they simply do not have the time and resources to review all patents meticulously.
A high-quality patent application shouldn’t leave a bunch of unanswered questions for the assessment. A poor-quality application stands out, and it often shows a lack of effort and detail and much shorter than a well composed patent.
End point: a patent is insurance
A patent protects you and your products in a multifaceted package. Would you drive with only the minimum liability driving insurance if you knew other drivers would strive to hit your car for their own profit? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d get full coverage insurance. Patent quality is much the same.
Here’s the thing:
In the world of patents, like in the above example, there’s always someone trying to profit off another’s assets. In this case, it’s the patent and the innovation behind it. A high-quality patent is formulated to protect all aspects of your invention, and you’ll need good backing should your ideas be taken without your consent.
Patent infringement (and attempts to prosecute the violating party) can be a very long, very costly process. If you filed a poor-quality patent application, this litigation can tax your organization without any positive ruling to reimburse you. On the other hand, if you put quality on the forefront for your patent strategy, your experience will be much easier and more likely to result in a ruling in your favor.
In an ever-changing world today, one must stand out in order to be successful. Having numerous similar patents will not help you to score a lot in investors’ eyes as much as having just a few but unique patents. Therefore, the next time you want to file for a patent, do make sure that it really stands out and is of high quality.